So, didja miss me? If you’re one of the handful of people who check this column every month to see what kind of verbal vomit I’m spewing, you probably wondered about my absence. I offer no excuse. It just didn’t happen. It wasn’t a lack of inspiration, it was more a result of desperation. Many of my client stations have been going full-tilt boogie since the pandemic seemed to lose steam and a lot of states and municipalities started lifting their lockdowns. This resulted in me getting slammed with VO sessions, video design requests, along with several large production orders. This is not a complaint. I love what I do and always relish the chance to do it. Sadly, my time spent writing dwindled to nothing. So, my sincere apologies to the Foxx Fan Club…all six of you.
Now that things are on more of an even keel, I am writing about something I heard in a promo for a virtual concert that aired a few days ago on a local radio station. It just grated on me for the rest of the day and has been haunting me ever since. Maybe I just suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. (For you alphabetizers out there, I guess it should be CDO, or Compulsive Disorder Obsessive. j/k)
If you’ve spent any time at all reading this column, you know how much I despise “rules”, but there is one rule I follow explicitly: Never talk when the singer is singing. It might not seem like a very big deal to some, but in a business where every word you broadcast matters, it’s a HUGE deal. Every song is somebody’s favorite song, no matter how crappy it is in your mind. When your VO is talking while the song lyric continues, the listener who loves that song is incensed. The people who don’t particularly care about that song are confused. Your message is completely lost to both groups. That’s a big, fat FAIL.
As business gets back to a more ‘normal’ mode, live concerts will start popping up again and the need for promos or spots for tickets sales and giveaways will come back, probably in a big way. So this month I am going to SHOW you how I create music tracks for spots and promos using popular music. That’s right whiz-kids, it’s AV day in the Production 512 classroom. I’ve written about this before, but today there is video!
One quick note before we dim the lights, pull the shades and fire up the overhead projector, you never have legal permission to use popular music in your production unless it is promoting a particular artist’s music or concerts. Technically, you STILL don’t have permission to use popular music, even when promoting said music. One station I worked for back in the day was sued by the artist because he insisted that he deserved compensation for the use of his music we used to promote his concert! It was ultimately thrown out of court, for obvious, common-sense reasons, but the lawyers all got their fees. We stopped promoting the show, didn’t give away any tickets and, as it turned out, the show was poorly attended. I love thinking it was because we stopped talking about him on the air, but I’m sure it was more than that.
Regardless, even if a big client insists on using a famous piece of popular music in their promotion, don’t do it. Not only can the client be sued, but so can you AND your radio station. Is it likely? Probably not, but with as many “sound-alike” pieces that the production music companies put out, it just doesn’t make sense.
Today’s A/V fare is about what I call Chunking Your Music. It takes a few minutes of prep, but once done, it makes assembling the promo an absolute snap. This demo features music of Taylor Swift. The funny thing is, just about the time I finished producing the vid, the good folks at Republic Records announced the release of her new album, so the video does NOT feature any of her new toonage.
The whole thing takes about 14 minutes so grab a quick cuppa and relax for a few. One last note before you go: As I was uploading these to my server, I realized that I kept saying “command-shift-3” when it should have been “OPTION-shift-3.” Sometimes I’m just an idiot, so…apologies. If you’re an Apple user and want some help with some of the other keyboard shortcuts, just drop me a line. Otherwise, everything I do in the video is available in the menu. You can reach me below or email me directly at
OK. here is the video!